“Norway is an extremely cold and very expensive country” – these might just have been the two aspects I heard about Norway the most before moving there for my semester abroad this fall. An important fact is, that indeed, a lot of people telling me those two characteristics had never been there before, but they had heard about it from friends and family. I too, had never been to Scandinavia before. With my Croatian roots, I enjoy the 33 Celsius Croatian summer more than any snowy winter. But after having studied in the UK for one semester, I decided to choose BI Norwegian Business School as my university of choice for my second semester abroad – which turns out, was the best decision ever.
When I think about BI, I feel like there is actually a lot to say. Walking to university on my first day of fresher’s week was breath taking. The university’s architecture makes it one of the most interesting university buildings I have ever seen. Even after studying there for months, I would get lost trying to figure out on which floor which class room was, and if you look at the pictures, you might understand why. The building is over-whelming. But it is not only about looks. All my lectures consisted of very high quality, very well prepared professors and interesting and challenging content. My favourite course was “Business Communication in English and Negotiation” which dealt with the New York Time’s bestseller “Getting To A Yes” by Fisher and Ury, which I would recommend every (business) student to read. With professors that were passionate about the topics they were teaching, I can say I really learnt a lot during my semester at BI.
Of course, my semester was not only about studying and attending lectures. I met adorable Norwegian and international students, who made the whole Norwegian experience way better than I could have imagined. I am so glad to have been able to get to know them. It is said that Norwegians are closed people in general, but to be honest, if you are open-minded and take the first step in talking to someone, people in Norway are really, really kind. We had an impressive fresher’s week organised by our Norwegian buddies with Galantis as one of the show acts, boat parties and we enjoyed an amazing End of Year Ball organised by BI.
Oslo itself is a very modern and impressive city. I think the most amazing thing about it that comes into my mind is the architecture and the port. Architecture as well as interior design is modern, but fulfils the “hygge” concept in a way that every other country I have been to so far can only learn something from it. “Hygge” is a Norwegian and Danish concept, describing a very cozy and comfortable way of living. Let me tell you, Norwegians know how to do “hygge”. Yes, it does get dark around 3 pm in the winter time in Oslo, but there are so many lights on the streets, every house is full of decoration and lights and everywhere you go you see candles and smell hot chocolate. With this concept, you seriously cannot wait for the sun to go down and to have this cozy feeling all over again.
For people who like to travel, Oslo is a good spot to be as well. We went to a city called Tromsø, which is in the North of Norway to see the Northern lights (we actually saw them two times on the plane there and back!) and to Copenhagen. Flights are easy to book and not expensive within Scandinavia – therefore one has a lot of possibilities.
Since I am now back in Frankfurt, writing this post, I have to say that I could not have been happier with my semester abroad than I am. It was way better than I expected it to be and it consisted of everything that I wished for; a very interesting and diverse country, a very well-ranked and demanding university, a lot of new friends and the possibility to travel around. Yes, it is cold and yes, the living expenses in Norway are higher than in Germany, but still – I would choose Norway all over again. I fell in love with the way of living, the modern concept, the “hygge” lifestyle, the sunsets and the Norwegian mentality – and I am very sure I will go back one day soon.